WHEN INSURRECTIONS DIE. Gilles Dauvé

Gilles Dauvé, Quand Meurent les Insurrections. ADEL, Paris, 1998.
This version, translated by Loren Goldner and revised by the author, first published by Antagonism Press, 1999.
“If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development.”1

This perspective was not realised. The European proletariat missed its rendezvous with a revitalised Russian peasant commune.2

BREST-LITOVSK: 1917 AND 1939

Brest-Litovsk, Poland, December 1917: the Bolsheviks proposed peace without annexations to a Germany intent on taking over a large swath of the old Tsarist empire, stretching from Finland to the Caucasus. But in February 1918, the German soldiers, “proletarians in uniform” though they were, obeyed their officers and resumed the offensive against a soviet Russia as if they were still facing the Tsarist army. No fraternisation occurred, and the revolutionary war advocated by the Bolshevik Left proved impossible. In March, Trotsky had to sign a peace treaty dictated by the Kaiser’s generals. “We’re trading space for time”, as Lenin put it, and in fact, in November, the German defeat turned the treaty into a scrap of paper. Nevertheless, practical proof of the international link-up of the exploited had failed to materialise. A few months later, returning to civilian life with the war’s end, these same proletarians confronted the alliance of the official workers’ movement and the Freikorps. Defeat followed defeat: in Berlin, Bavaria and Hungary in 1919; then the Red Army of the Ruhr in 1920; the March Action in 1921…

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Democracy and Disappointment: On the Politics of Resistance

Alain Badiou, in conversation with Simon Critchley
Event Date: Thursday, November 15, 2007
Location: Slought Foundation
Conversations in Theory Series | Organized by Aaron Levy

Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, the Departments of Romance Languages, History, and English, and the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, are pleased to announce a public conversation between Alain Badiou and Simon Critchley on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 from 7:00-9:00pm. This event, the next installment of the “Conversations in Theory” series, features a 30 minute presentation by Simon Critchley about his recent publication Infinitely Demanding, followed by remarks and public conversation with Alain Badiou on metapolitics and the politics of resistance and dissensus. This event has been organized by Aaron Levy, will be introduced by Román de la Campa, Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor and Chair of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, and is sponsored by Verso. Publications by the conversants will be available for sale on the evening of the event.

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Defining Movement. Giorgio Agamben

Seminar held in Padova at the Nomad University on the theme of war and democracy, January 2005.

The thoughts I am going to share with you today are born out of a malaise , or rather a series of questions that I asked myself during a meeting in Venice that took place some time ago and saw the participation of some of the people who are here today (Toni Negri, Luca Casarini …). At the meeting, a term kept coming up, that is, ‘movement’. As you know, this is a word with a long history in our tradition, and also seems the most recurrent in Toni’s intervention today. In his book too, the word recurs in strategic positions every time he attempts to define what is meant by multitude; for instance, when the concept of multitude needs to be torn away from the false alternative between sovereignty and anarchy. So, my malaise and questions emerged when realising for the first time that this word was never defined: those who used it, me included, neither could nor would define it. In the past I would often use as an implicit rule of my thinking practice the formula: ‘when the movement is there, act as if it was not there; when it’s not, act as if it was’. Now I realise that I did not know what the word ‘movement’ meant: aside from its lack of specificity, everyone seems to understand it but no one defines it.

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